Monday, 7:00 pm EDT September 18, 2023
The Center for Fiction
In-person tickets to this event are sold out. Register above to view the livestream.
What happened to Gen X? That’s the question at hand in Harper’s Magazine’s September issue and it’s one that three members of the generation, Rachel Kushner, Ethan Hawke, and Christopher Beha (born in 1968, 1970, and 1979, respectively), will explore in what is sure to be a fascinating discussion that will touch upon literature, film, art, and attitude. Kushner writes the magazine’s “Easy Chair” column and is the bestselling author of three novels: The Mars Room, The Flamethrowers, and Telex from Cuba. Her collection of essays, The Hard Crowd, was published in 2021. Christopher Beha is the editor of Harper’s and the author of a memoir, The Whole Five Feet, and the novels Arts & Entertainments, What Happened to Sophie Wilder, and The Index of Self-Destructive Acts.
Join us at The Center from 6pm to 7pm ET for a reception before the event, sponsored by Harper’s Magazine. Attendees will receive a complimentary drink.
Presented in partnership with Harper’s Magazine.
Rachel Kushner is the bestselling author of three novels: the Booker- and NBCC Award-shortlisted The Mars Room; The Flamethrowers, a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times Top Ten Book of 2013; and Telex from Cuba, a finalist for the National Book Award. Her collection of essays, The Hard Crowd, was published in 2021. She grew up in San Francisco and lives in Los Angeles.
Ethan Hawke is a four-time Academy Award-nominated artist and one of Hollywood’s most multifaceted stars: actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and bestselling novelist.
His prolific film acting career includes Dead Poets Society; Reality Bites; Gattaca; Training Day; Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead; Boyhood; Born to Be Blue; Maudie; Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight; and First Reformed.
His film directing debut Chelsea Walls premiered at Cannes in 2001. Since then, Hawke has directed the feature films The Hottest State (Venice), Blaze (Sundance, Locarno FF), and the documentary feature Seymour: An Introduction (Telluride, TIFF). Most recently, Hawke directed The Last Movie Stars (SXSW, Cannes) for CNN Films and HBO Max, a six-part documentary about the lives and careers of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. His latest film Wildcat, starring Maya Hawke as the Southern Gothic author Flannery O’Connor, premiered at the 2023 Telluride Film Festival.
With his Under the Influence banner, Hawke executive produced, co-wrote, and starred in the Peabody award winning limited series The Good Lord Bird.
At the age of twenty-one, Hawke founded the Malaparte Theater Co., which gave young artists a home to develop their craft for over five years. A Tony Award & Drama Desk award-nominated stage actor, Hawke starred on Broadway in the revival of Sam Shepard’s True West; Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia; Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Henry IV; and Chekhov’s The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard. In 2010, Hawke directed Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind, for which he received a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play. He also directed the acclaimed off-broadway productions of Clive and Things We Want.
A bestselling author, in 2021 he released A Bright Ray of Darkness and the graphic novel Meadowlark: A Coming-of-Age Crime Story. Other written works include the novels The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday, the graphic novel Indeh, and Rules for a Knight.
Photo Credit: Francois Berthier
Christopher Beha is the editor of Harper’s Magazine. He is the author of a memoir, The Whole Five Feet, and the novels Arts & Entertainments and What Happened to Sophie Wilder. His latest novel, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts, was nominated for the 2020 National Book Award. He is currently writing an intellectual history of atheism for Penguin Press.
Photo Credit: Ira Lippke
The Hard Crowd
By Rachel Kushner
Published by Scribner / Simon & Schuster
Rachel Kushner has established herself as “the most vital and interesting American novelist working today” (Millions) and as a master of the essay form. In The Hard Crowd, she gathers a selection of her writing from over the course of the last twenty years that addresses the most pressing political, artistic, and cultural issues of our times—and illuminates the themes and real-life experiences that inform her fiction.
In twenty razor-sharp essays, The Hard Crowd spans literary journalism, memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about art and literature, including pieces on Jeff Koons, Denis Johnson, and Marguerite Duras. Kushner takes us on a journey through a Palestinian refugee camp, an illegal motorcycle race down the Baja Peninsula, 1970s wildcat strikes in Fiat factories, her love of classic cars, and her young life in the music scene of her hometown, San Francisco. The closing, eponymous essay is her manifesto on nostalgia, doom, and writing.
These pieces, new and old, are electric, vivid, and wry, and they provide an opportunity to witness the evolution and range of one of our most dazzling and fearless writers. “Kushner writes with startling detail, imagination, and gallows humor,” said Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly, and, from Paula McLain in the Wall Street Journal: “The authority and precision of Kushner’s writing is impressive, but it’s the gorgeous ferocity that will stick with me.”
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